Like most of Barbados, we’ve been following the story of the Brittons Hill tragedy quite closely. On the official media and also on the blogs. We have heard some people expressing concern about the presence of caves in Barbados and there has been comment in some quarters about unease of people in building. How common are caves in Barbados?
The answer to that question is that caves are extremely common in Barbados. The island’s coral limestone cap being made of limestone naturally develops caves. A cave can range from the size of a tennis ball, to the size of the monster at Brittons Hill. The collapse at Brittons Hill while it is definitely the first (and hopefully the last) in recorded history it is not without geological precedent. Welchman Hall Gully is the remains of a collapsed cave system. Stalactites are still visible there today on the walls of the gully.
Most Bajans are familiar with Harrisons Cave, but how many have been into Cole’s Cave? Futher how many know that there is far more of Harrisons Cave system than has been developed for the public? Did you know that Bowmanston pumping station taps into an underground lake that is part of a cave system several miles long? If you drive down highway 2A and look at the cliffs you will see small caves in the cliff face..
So to make a long answer short caves are very common, and we do agree with Richard Sealy who made the point that we should find as many of the major ones as possible. In the meantinme, we are thankful that collapses like the one at Brittons Hill are very very rare.